Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, with his claims of total popular support and theatrical displays at bombing sites, treads a fine line between rhetoric and reality.
Scott Peterson/Getty Images
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi decries Western airstrikes as a “new crusader battle” and calls upon “all Islamic armies” to assist in a momentous fight. On the eve of the air campaign one week ago, the regime issues a statement: If attacked, Libya would “expose all air and maritime traffic” in the Mediterranean Sea to counterattack.
But like much in Mr. Qaddafi’s Libya today – including the declared total popular support of the enigmatic “Brother Leader” himself – the rhetoric often appears disconnected from reality.
From Qaddafi’s certainty that “all my people are with me, they love me all,” to cease-fires declared and ignored, the Libyan leader might appear to be waging a campaign of confusion against his enemies. The seed of such a strategy may be evident in the Green Book, the colonel's 35-year-old guide to political philosophy, which itself embodies – perhaps purposefully – the contradictory and abstruse nature of the long-serving strongman.
In the latest example, on Friday, officials seeking to prove the scale of the damage drove foreign journalists east from Tripoli – passing two smoldering military facilities visible from the road on the way – only to stop at a rural residence where a missile of some type had landed in a front yard.
Page 1 of 5